2013 Cox Plate: Setback Could Cost The Favourite

It’s A Dundeel remains the favourite in 2013 Cox Plate betting markets but trainer Murray Baker admits that the minor issue that saw the four-year-old miss the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) could cost him in the Group 1 event tomorrow.

Trainer Murray Baker is pessimistic about It's A Dundeel chances in the 2013 Cox Plate at Moonee Valley tomorrow.

Trainer Murray Baker is pessimistic about It's A Dundeel chances in the 2013 Cox Plate at Moonee Valley tomorrow. Photo by: Steve Hart

It’s A Dundeel missed the Caulfield Stakes due to a burst foot abscess and will be going into the Cox Plate with just two runs under his belt this campaign, including his memorable victory over Atlantic Jewel in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m).

History is against It’s A Dundeel as no horse in the last thirty years has won a Cox Plate without having a lead-up run in October but Baker told Racing Ahead that he has done his best to make up for the lack of a race start with a number of testing gallops.

Baker said he is happy with the fitness levels of It’s A Dundeel but confesses that he would be more confident heading into the 2013 Cox Plate if he had not suffered the injury setback.

“I suppose you could have him fitter if he had a race,” Baker said.

“He missed that race and it is quite a setback but we have tried to make it up and keep him relatively fresh so he has the sprint in him.

“I think he will be there but missing that race hasn’t helped him.”

It’s A Dundeel will jump from barrier thirteen with James McDonald onboard and Baker is confident that the versatile galloper will get a good run into the race.

“I think we need to take our luck with the draw,” Baker said.

“Things never quiet pan out how you expect but he has shown from his two starts in Melbourne that he can go forward and in Sydney he raced back so I don’t think it really matters.

“The three-year-olds will go forward and they will be joined by one or two others and I’d say that it will be a strongly run race.”

It’s A Dundeel has only had one previous start at Moonee Valley and suffered a shock defeat to Super Cool in the Group 2 AAMI Vase (2040m) during the 2012 Spring Racing Carnival – another factor that is against the five-time Group 1 winner in the 2013 Cox Plate.

Baker is satisfied that It’s A Dundeel will handle the tight-turning Moonee Valley circuit and won’t be using that as an excuse if the three-year-old Triple Crown winner fails to fire tomorrow.

“He had a gallop at Breakfast With The Stars, last year he ran second to Super Cool and had a gallop there the other day,” Baker said.

“He has been three times on the track and there is no reason why he shouldn’t handle it.”

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Thomas Hackett

Thomas is a passionate and opinionated racing journalist and punter who has been obsessed with horse racing since he backed Saintly to win the 1996 Melbourne Cup. An international racing enthusiast, he has his finger on the pulse of racing news not just from Australia but all around the world.